• Poor start undermines pledge to avoid relegation battle
• 'This season is not going to be plain sailing'
The wider world may have missed it, but amid the bedlam caused by Manchester City's dramatic title win on the final day of last season, two statements of intent were made. The first, of course, came from City themselves, while the other arrived from the losing manager at the Etihad Stadium, Mark Hughes, as he reflected on Queens Park Rangers' narrow escape from relegation.
"We will never be in this situation again while I am manager," said the Welshman. "We don't want to be involved at this end of the league again and it won't happen." It was a bold claim and one that offered itself for re-examination following QPR's 5-0 defeat to Swansea, the second time in successive seasons the west London club have suffered an opening-day mauling on home turf.
It is too early to be speaking of QPR as relegation candidates, but it appears that despite signing eight players during the summer, three of whom – Fábio da Silva, Park Ji-sung and, most recently, José Bosingwa – are Premier League winners, this remains a side lacking in top-level nous and craft. They were woefully open against Swansea and after initially creating some decent chances they appeared to run out of ideas in attack with Djibril Cissé, deployed as a lone striker in a 4-1-4-1 formation, a peripheral figure throughout.
"Now is the time to be aware that this season is not going to be plain sailing," said Hughes afterwards. "We can't drift into 10 or 12 games until that realisation hits us. We'll obviously tap into that experience from last season when we left it late to escape. No one at this club expects us to be struggling this year."
Of that there is no doubt, and credit must be given to the QPR supporters, who arrived at Loftus Road in expectant mood but did not turn on their side despite seeing them wilt in the searing August heat. Sat among the crowd was the QPR chairman, Tony Fernandes, who, a year after taking over the club, looked less than pleased with what he was seeing but has also given his backing to the team and their manager. "That was a pretty poor anniversary. But I remain positive," he tweeted. "I have a fantastic relationship with Mark Hughes. He will fix this."
In fairness to Hughes, the side he put out was always likely to lack cohesion given that it contained four new faces with a fifth, Andrew Johnson, coming on as a late substitute. Bosingwa was unavailable for selection but is likely to feature against Norwich on Saturday when, with a week's reflection and further preparation behind them, QPR should perform better.
In Michael Laudrup's first match in charge Swansea were excellent, combining the passing principles that saw them finish 11th under Brendan Rodgers last season with a more ruthless streak.
It would have been particularly encouraging for Laudrup to see the three new signings who started against QPR look so assured; the Spanish centre-back Chico Flores, the Dutch midfielder Jonathan de Guzmán and, most notably, Michu, the elegant Spanish midfielder who scored twice, the second a first-time curling shot from the edge of the area. The 26-year-old arrived from Rayo Vallecano for £2m having scored 15 goals in La Liga last season, and is shaping up to be the Premier League's bargain of the summer.
There were also positive displays from Wayne Routledge, who played a part in Swansea's first three goals, and Nathan Dyer, who also scored twice. Scott Sinclair completed the rout late on.
"He [Laudrup] is as delighted with me as I am with myself," said Michu. "He is happy the first game went well and we all now have confidence. Hopefully we can work even harder through the season to get more points."
Man of the match Michu (Swansea)